Meanwhile, I have registered for that “Poker Players Alliance Chat with Senator Alfonse D’Amato Webcast” thingamabob occurring later this afternoon. We’ll see if my operating system is sufficiently compatible for me to be able to listen in. The event is scheduled to last for thirty minutes. I’m guessing rather than a “chat” we’ll be more likely treated to another monologue (of sorts) from the Rambling Gambling Man. I also can’t imagine we’ll be hearing much that is new today. Nonetheless, I am curious to hear how the Chairman of the Board will choose to address the organization he’s being paid to represent.
It is possible that D’Amato might say something about the legislation that Barney Frank, the Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts, will apparently be introducing on the floor of the House next week. Recent reports have suggested Wednesday, April 18th will be the day Frank will play his hand. (Same day I’m flying to Vegas, so I suppose that countdown I’ve added over on the right-column is serving a dual purpose.) A Poker Player Newspaper article from March 28th reported Frank to be “consulting widely before moving forward with the drafting of legislation which will include but not be limited to a poker carve out from [the] UIGEA.” The article also says that Frank is not consulting with either D’Amato or the PPA, which makes me think D’Amato will be necessarily vague today when responding to any questions about upcoming legislation.
Making some sort of attempt now to repeal (or at least alter) the UIGEA is certainly appropriate. Federal regulators have yet to issue their instructions to “designated payment systems” and “financial transaction providers” to stop their clients from dealing with online gambling sites. But that rumbling we’re hearing in the distance indicates the storm’s approach. Online gambling-foe Jon Kyl -- the Republican senator from Arizona who was involved in the drafting of earlier versions of what became the UIGEA -- apparently wrote a letter to President Bush last month urging the executive branch to get moving with those instructions. (I say “apparently” because there seems to be some doubt about the authenticity of Kyl’s letter -- see this Kick Ass Poker post for links/details.)
I would think that preventing the delivery of those instructions to federal regulators would be a high priority for those desirous to preserve the precarious stability of the online poker industry. Since Frist pulled his ruse in the dead of night last September, we’ve experienced a couple of “calamity”-type events that have shaken the online poker world -- e.g., the day Party announced it was pulling out, the day Neteller bailed. Neither of those setbacks will compare to the tidal wave of paranoia-slash-anxiety that will crash down on us once the U.S. Attorney General and those who serve on the Federal Reserve send their instructions to the banks. I guarantee it. (Am hoping with everyone else that day does not come.)
The day the UIGEA was signed into law, I wrote a post saying I didn’t think we’d ever see a carve out for poker. Can’t really say I’m thinking much differently six months later. That opinion was/is partially based on my belief that no matter what they might be saying in Russia at the moment, poker is “a game based on chance.” The fact that most everything in this life might be described that way is beside the point. As long as the U.S. government does not explicitly exclude poker from the category -- and I don’t think they ever will -- poker is covered by the UIGEA.
My opinion that we won’t see a poker carve out also stems from my experience living in America and being acquainted with the culture here. I just cannot imagine a majority of Congress ever finding it useful politically to identify themselves as supporters of poker, especially online poker. So while Frank may be consulting about the feasibility of seeking a carve out, it is much more likely we’ll see a more comprehensive argument from him about how the entire Act violates our civil liberties and should therefore be repealed outright.
(EDIT [added 4/12/07, 3:40 p.m.]: During the session, D’Amato confirmed that Congressman Frank would be introducing legislation next week. At first, D'Amato said -- ambiguously -- that such legislation would be to “amend this law, to do away with this law.” Later he was asked specifically whether or not Frank would be making any distinctions between poker and other forms of gambling. D’Amato said that while he was not privy to details, he understood that Frank’s proposed legislation would not distinguish between poker and other forms of gambling. It appears evident, then, that Frank will not be seeking any “carve out” for poker next week, but rather a wholesale repeal of the UIGEA.)
Can’t say I’m all that optimistic about that plan, either. But how does that saying go? He who fails to plan plans to fail . . . ?
Speaking of . . . . Anybody have any suggestions about where I might want to play low limit HE -- no higher than $3/$6, I’m afraid -- when I go to Vegas next week? I might also be able to withstand a $1/$2 PLO game, if such an animal exists on the strip. All advice is welcome.
Labels: *the rumble